Friday, 17 May 2019
Friday, 17 May is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) which marks the day in 1990 the World Health Organisation removed ‘homosexuality’ from its international list of diseases and illnesses.
From such a decision came a considerable shift in thinking and gradual changes around many parts of the world. Such changes saw the removal of discriminatory legislation, the development of legal protections for members of the LGBTI community, broader socio-political and attitudinal change and, more recently, marriage equality for LGBTI people in over 28 countries worldwide.
Today, IDAHOBIT is a worldwide celebration of LGBTI people and the creation of a more inclusive and accepting society. It is also about raising awareness of the journey to equality that still remains. For instance, in Australia, 75 per cent of LGBTI youth reported facing some form of discrimination, 19 per cent endured physical bullying and evidence points to LGBTI people disproportionately suffering from anxiety and depression.
At Edith Cowan University, we are proud to be an inclusive university committed to transforming lives and enriching society. To this end, we are embarking on the following steps to ensure we are living up to this commitment.
In the second half of this year, ECU will establish a new LGBTI committee to support the inclusion of sexuality and gender diverse staff and students and ensure active engagement with members of our LGBTI community locally, nationally and internationally.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equity and Indigenous) Professor Braden Hill will be hosting a forum for LGBTI students and staff as well as key allies to begin a conversation about how we, as a university community, ensure that we work towards being a leader in the sector around LGBTI inclusion. If you wish to be involved, register here.
In response to a student-led initiative, we have made sure that our campuses in Joondalup, Mount Lawley and the South West have bathroom facilities that are inclusively named to ensure that, regardless of gender identity or expression, all people feel welcome and safe on our campuses. We will also work to have such inclusion inform all future planning at ECU.
For the first time, ECU will be a part of the Perth Pride Parade. Staff and students, along with their families, will be invited to join our float in celebrating diversity and inclusion.
While these are small steps, they show our commitment and indicate progress towards a stronger and more inclusive university.
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